Top 10 Random Facts about Newcastle

toddler beach

With a name like ‘Down Under Dad’, its pretty easier to pick where the writer of this blog comes from. However Australia is a diverse country with many different places and lifestyles scattered throughout an area larger then Europe and close to equal that of the United States.

One such place is my hometown of Newcastle. Want to know more? Here’s 10 random facts that you may not already know.

1. Newcastle is Australia’s second Oldest City. Settled in 1804 by convicts that were rebelled in Sydney.

2. The Bogey Hole was actually carved out of rock by Convicts for the governor’s personal swimming pool. Still a great place for a swim on the coast, just keep an eye out for the waves.

bogey hole

 

3. The Hunter Valley is Australia’s Oldest Wine Region. OK so not technically a part of Newcastle the city, but it is right outside.

4. Newcastle’s Fort Scratchley is the only coastal fort in Australia to return fire
at an enemy vessel during a time of war. During WW2 a Japanese Submarine shelled Newcastle targeting the steelworks, while they weren’t successful, Fort Scratchley did return fire.

5. Nobbys Lighthouse used to be on an island. Until the break wall was built to protect the entrance to the harbor and created one of Newcastle’s classic beaches.

6. A 225m long Bulk Carrier almost called Nobby’s Beach Home. After getting beached during wild storms, it lived there for almost 2 months.

pasha bulker

7. Sand from Stockton beach is exported to Hawaii.  We really do have some of the best beaches in the world.

stockon beach

8. Newcastle is home to the largest Coal exporting port in the world. Always fun for the kids to watch the big ships coming in and out of the harbor daily.

9. Newcastle shares its airport with the Australian Air Force. Its not uncommon to see the fighter jets practicing maneuvers over the beach. Although if you wait until you hear them its normally too late.

10. One of the most well known landmarks is shaped like a giant, uh. . . Remind me again why we are proud of it.

queens wharf tower

 

This post was inspired by a blog that started around the same time mine did. The Cole Campfire Blog recently posted Top 10 Random Facts about Oregon . I actually learnt some interesting facts from it which made me think not all of my readers would know where i’m from let alone where I got the name Down Under Dad.

Hope you enjoyed it and maybe even learnt something. I’d love for you to share some interesting facts about where your from. You can leave them below or link back to my blog.

Reblog – The Ultimate Australian Bucket List – Travel Drink Dine

Nobbys Beach Newcastle

Reblog from Travel Drink Dine

Want to know more about the Land Down Under? Check out this bucket list of Australian Destinations from Travel Drink Dine.

Want to know more about where Down Under Dad comes from? Check out my submission under NSW – Newcastle

Are you travelling to Australia? This list has been created with a number of travel experts to become your resource for the ultimate Australian bucket list.

Source: The Ultimate Australian Bucket List – Travel Drink Dine

16/6/18 – Dad Joke of the Day

spontaneous dad joke

Australian’s always have the last laugh. . .

After having dug to a depth of 10 feet last year, British scientists found
traces of copper wire dating back 200 years and came to the conclusion that
their ancestors already had a telephone network more than 150 years ago.

Not to be outdone by the British, in the weeks that followed, an American
archaeologist dug to a depth of 20 feet, and shortly after, a story
published in the New York Times: “American archaeologists, finding traces of
250-year-old copper wire, have concluded that their ancestors already had an
advanced high-tech communications network 50 years earlier than the
British”.

One week later, Australia’s Northern Territory Times, reported the
following:

“After digging as deep as 30 feet in his backyard in Tennant Creek, Northern
Territory, aboriginal Billi Bunji, a self-taught archaeologist, reported
that he found absolutely fuck-all.
Billi has therefore concluded that 250 years ago, Australia had already
gone wireless…”

spontaneous dad joke

Follow below for more Dad Jokes

Dad Jokes of the Day

Newcastle’s ‘Blackbutt Reserve’ Review – A Family Outing

blackbutt reserve

A Beautiful Day

Today was an unseasonably warm day with perfect weather, the perfect opportunity for an outdoors adventure. Following my own advice from Go To Tricks For Entertaining Kids, we decided to head outdoors, beyond the limits of our backyard. Living in the city generally means we need to travel a little bit further to enjoy nature, this is the one exception.

What better way to enjoy the beautiful day and spend time as a family then to go wandering through the bush and exploring the different wildlife that live in our country. To make the day even better some of my wider family joined us as well!

Today’s destination – Blackbutt Reserve!

Disclaimer, while this might read like a paid review, that couldn’t be further from the truth. My family enjoyed a great day out here and I am simply letting you as the reader know what an amazing place we found it to be.

Black What Reserve?

So what is Blackbutt Reserve? if your a local reader then feel free to skip onto the next section (unless you feel like possibly learning something). For the wider audience I’ll elaborate.

blackbutt reserve

Blackbutt Reserve is a nature reservation a short 15-minute drive from the centre of Newcastle. It is situated on over 182 hectares of bushland, including a dedicated area with wildlife exhibits. They are setup in such a way that allow visitors (free of charge) to watch the animals in their native habitat and learn more about them. What better way to learn more about the animals then attending one of the scheduled animal feeding sessions on throughout the day.

Of the 93 things listed on TripAdvisor to do in Newcastle, it is ranked 4th, with an average rating of 4.5 out of 5.

Aside from the wildlife, Blackbutt is also a great location for other outdoor recreational activities. The reserve boasts 10 kilometers of tracks that will suit a range of fitness levels.

Or for those looking for something a bit quieter, there is ample BBQ and picnic facilities with a sizable kids playground as well

Combine all this together and you have the making of a wonderful family outing. Which is exactly what we did today.

Our Adventure

We started our visit by heading straight to one of the many picnic tables. We brought our lunch with us (see my advice section later on) as it was already the afternoon and none of us had eaten yet (rookie error). While sitting down eating we took turns enjoying the open area to kick a ball around with the little guy.

ball kicking

Once lunch was finished it was time to check out the wildlife. The reserve has a set walking path through the various enclosures allowing you to see (almost!) all the animals in one go.

Blackbutt koalas

On our way we got to see a couple of Wombats snacking away, and various species of birds. One of the more popular enclosures would have been the Koalas. You could get pretty close to them, even if the majority of them were passed out.

Blackbutt Lizards

As we moved further through the reserve we were led through a couple of darkened enclosures highlighting the various nocturnal animals native to the area. Hot Tip! if you are taking younger kids through here, it can be hard to point out the smaller animals in the exhibits, try and bring them before they get too tired and their patience wears out.

After completing our adventure through the first section, we wondered why we had purchased ’emu food’ ($2) when we hadn’t seen any. We then realised that on the other side of the clearing was another large enclosure, highlighting the larger animals. This is where our little guy really became interested.

Emus

He was fascinated. That is until Grandma almost lost a finger feeding the Emus, then he wanted to move on pretty quickly. Whether it was the Emus or Grandmas reaction that spooked him is still up for debate.

By this stage our man was getting very tired, to the point where he refused to walk by himself and didn’t want anyone holding him except mum. That is until he saw the wallabies.

blackbutt wallaby

Honestly I think he would have stayed their all afternoon if we were with him. He wasn’t just staring at them, he was waving and saying hello!

By the time we got back to our cars the entire family was a bit worn out. The little guy because he didn’t have his usual nap before we went. The rest of us because I think we underestimated how much walking would be involved (see advice later on for shoes).

Suffice to say it was definitely worth heading out for

tired child

 

Advice for Families

As parents you may think you can prepare for every situation, but can you ensure you make the most of every adventure. Here’s a quick list if you plan on visiting Blackbutt, or any similar location

  • Choose your Time of Day Carefully – Some will say go earlier in the day to try and beat the crowds. With the reserve being open all day, you can miss the crowds by going later on too. I would also work this around your kids. If they are still young, work it around nap time etc.
  • Pack Well – The car park is only a short walk from the main recreational area so don’t be afraid to over pack. Bringing your own lunch is a good idea with onsite food options very limited. BBQ’s are an option but this place does get busy. Don’t forget to pack your esky with drinks for the family too.
  • Dress Appropriately – Sure some parts are in the sun, others are well shaded, so if its a cooler day don’t underestimate the temperature dropping. Also I wouldn’t attend without wearing good footwear. If you want to experience the wildlife you will need to do some walking, and its not flat.
  • Respect the environment – this should be a given. It is rare to find such a large reserve of bushland so close to the city. The only way it will last is if its looked after. Don’t litter, look after the facilities, and follow the advice listed for feeding the wildlife.

blackbutt reserve

 

As I said earlier, the Down Under Family had a great afternoon at Blackbutt. I would highly recommend it to any families, as well as those who have never experienced the wildlife of our country. I know we are already planning our next visit.

Links

Blackbutt Reserve Website

http://www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/Blackbutt-Reserve/Home

Blackbutt Reserve on TripAdvisor

https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Attraction_Review-g255325-d953695-Reviews-Blackbutt_Reserve-Newcastle_Greater_Newcastle_New_South_Wales.html

Visit Newcastle – Blackbutt Reserve

https://www.visitnewcastle.com.au/blackbutt-reserve